Solved crimes in Thurrock: The mystery continues……..

Editorial Comment

THREE months ago, Essex Police published a press release announcing that reported crime was down by seven per cent.

“Home Office figures released on Thursday, July 15, comparing the 2009/10 to the 2008/9 financial year, show improvements across most categories of crime, in particular robbery and theft of motor vehicles, both down 16% this year in Essex. Crimes of violence against the person have dropped an encouraging 3%, burglaries of peoples’ homes by 1%.”

Very laudable. It did rather beg a question though: How many of those crimes were actually solved?

Many police forces have detailed crime statistics. Not just for murder, rape, burglary, drink-driving but also offences such as: perjury, littering, under-agers attempting to buy alcohol, no MOT. An extremely comprehensive list that are published in a document that can be picked up at police stations, doctors surgeries, council offices and indeed on the net.

So it seemed to be a natural question to ask:

“Could you supply the detection rates for the following crimes in Thurrock over the 2006-7, 07-08 and 08-09 periods: Violence Against Person, sexual offences, robbery,fraud,drugs,criminal damage and burglary”

We firstly asked the Thurrock Community Safety Partnership.

We were told that we would need to submit a freedom of information (foi) request.

We have to say were were surprised.

We can only imagine that when the safety partnership are on their regular community engagement days, conversations go like this:

Partnership: “Hello we are the Thurrock Community Safety Partnership

Citizen: Are you here to reassure the community about crime?

Partnership: Yes

Citizen: “Ok. How many burglaries were reported on my street last year?

Partnership: 27

Citizen: And how many were solved

Partnership: Ah. You need to submit a foi request to Essex Police for that

Citizen: So let me get this right. We have Thurrock police, Thurrock Council, Fire Brigade, NHS, community forums and a whole host of voluntary groups here on my street and you can’t tell me f any crimes have actually been solved

Partnership: No……..

So, we submitted an FOI to Essex Police and asked:

“Could you supply the detection rates for the following crimes in Thurrock over the 2006-7, 07-08 and 08-09 periods: Violence Against Person, sexual offences, robbery,fraud,drugs,criminal damage and burglary”

Twenty days passed and we received a reply that they are dealing with this but it may take a little longer.

We waited and waited. Two months later, we wrote to Essex Police again and asked where is the information?

Essex Police were very apologetic but due to work demands they could not give us a date when the information could become available.

So, there we have it. Nobody can tell you whether any crimes in Thurrock were solved or not.

Needless to say, we will be writing to the Information Commissioner about this.

We also want to stress that we are not getting at the people who work at the coalface, the cops out on the night shifts and the various agencies such as the safety partnership. They may well be caught in a political tug of war between politicians in Whitehall and police bosses in Chelmsford.

It leaves you very curious. Just go to the YourThurrock crime page and ask:

Did Thurrock police solve?

1. The theft of the horsebox in Aveley?
2. The robbery in Lodge Lane?
3. The delivery driver in South Ockendon
4. The mugging in Stanford?
5. Bogus workmen in Ock
6. Arson at Blackshots
7. Arson at several playgrounds
8. Teenage girl robbed in Grays
9. Three cars smashed in South Ock
10. Man robbed in woods in Grays
11. Robbery in Corringham

…and that is just the last six weeks! These are just the ones that either we have picked up on or have been appeals for witnesses from the police.

Having said all that, if you think it is bad now, what will happen when £43 million pounds worth of cuts really bite? From all reports, Thurrock is the poor cousin in Essex (financially) despite the incredible and varied amount of policing demands that face the borough.

YourThurrock has tremendous sympathy for the police in Thurrock. If you ever see the work the Fraud Squad have in front of them with a mountain of paper trail cases. If you see how swiftly they reacted to the incident last week of a firearm in Dell Road; the operation to get a helicopter at T-Fest in July; the meticulous work at a murder scene; the work at the worrying number of fatal RTC’s on the roads in the last four weeks or the numbers out in force at Coryton yesterday then you can only have praise.

The worrying allegation is that many people simply don’t bother reporting crime. Last week, Deputy Leader of Thurrock Council Val Morris-Cook offered a personal reward for any information regarding arson attacks in playgrounds. A few weeks prior to this, YourThurrock actually filmed in high definition, five youths walking away from an arson attack. Thurrock police have been in contact but not for a statement from us or the informant or the 27 other witnesses standing by. We have asked them how the investigation is progressing. We have not received a reply.

We will let you know if we make any progress.

Then we will find out the conviction rates…………….move along now…..

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